Brand Spotlight

How to Choose the Right Elta MD Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the most important step in any skin care routine, and it’s not even close. You should be applying SPF every single day, regardless of the weather, season, or temperature. The question should never be whether or not to wear sunscreen, rather which sunscreen will fit your needs the best!

Enter Elta MD.

Elta MD is a skincare brand known especially for their broad-spectrum sunscreen formulas. Elta MD sunscreens range from SPF 30 to 50 and are specially formulated with zinc oxide for a safe and effective protection from UVA, UVB rays, blue light, and infared. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is another key component in the Elta products. HA holds 1,000 times its weight in water and is an important ingredient when it comes to anti-aging. Because of its use of SPF plus HA, the Elta MD sunscreens are the least expensive and most effective products for anti-aging as a whole. So, if you could only have one skincare product in your arsenal, Elta MD sunscreens would be a great one to choose! Many of the Elta MD sunscreens come in tinted and non-tinted versions, all of the tinted versions having a universal tint for all skin tones.

Elta MD offers tons of options for sun protection, and it can be difficult to pick out the right one for your skin. I get so many patients who know about the Elta sunscreens but because there are so many of them, they’re not sure where to start. So, I thought putting together a handy guide would be really helpful.

Below, you’ll find a guide on how to choose the right Elta MD sunscreen for your face and body based on your skin type and preferences.

Before you begin to look into sunscreen, it’s important to understand the Fitzpatrick scale for skin types. The Fitzpatrick categories are a numerical classification scale for human skin color and type. The different types are:

Type 1: Skin color is ivory, eye color is light blue, gray or light green, natural hair color is red or light blonde, and skin tends to freckle, burn and doesn’t tan well.

Type 2: Skin color is fair or pale, eye color is blue, gray or green, natural hair color is blonde, and skin tends to freckle, burn, and rarely tans.

Type 3: Skin color is fair to beige with golden undertones, eye color is hazel or light brown, natural hair color is blonde or light brown, and skin may freckle, burn on occasion and sometimes tans

Type 4: Skin color is olive or light brown, eye color is dark brown, natural hair color is dark brown, and skin rarely freckles or burns and tends to tan often.

Type 5: Skin color is dark brown, eye color is dark brown to black, natural hair color is dark brown to black, and skin rarely freckles or burns and always tans.

Type 6: Skin color is dark brown, eye color is brownish black, natural hair color is black and skin never freckles or burns but tans darkly.

What Elta MD sunscreen should I pick for my skin type?

For your face:

  • For acne-prone skin, or sufferers of rosacea or hyperpigmentation and melasma and Fitzpatrick types 1-6: The Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 sunscreen is the top selling Elta MD product. It’s oil-free, contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and lactic acid to promote clear and smooth skin. Men also love the UV Clear SPF 46, as it helps with irritation and inflammation from shaving. It helps minimize and tighten the look of pores and reduces the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles. It also increases the levels of ceramides in the skin so it’s great for those on prescriptions for acne. It gives you moisture + sunscreen in a very lightweight formula. This sunscreen comes in tinted and non-tinted versions. The tinted version of clear would be the best product anyone with the highest Fitzpatrick skin types.
  • For all skin types or post-procedure skin and Fitzpatrick types 1-5: The Elta MD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 sunscreen is an oil-free, tinted moisturizing base that enhances and protects your skin. Elements is a broad-spectrum 100% physical sunscreen (making it perfect for post-procedure skin) that offers a little more coverage than Clear SPF 46. Elements is ultra-hydrating due to increased levels of hyaluronic acid, yet still very lightweight. Iron Oxide (the tint) helps control and improve melasma and hyperpigmentation. It can be worn alone or under makeup and it’s great for quick touch-ups. It’s also water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
  • For all skin types or post-procedure skin and Fitzpatrick types 1-3: The Elta MD UV Replenish Broad Spectrum SPF 44 sunscreen is very similar to Elements, but without the tint. This oil-free sunscreen infuses the skin with hyaluronic acid for optimum moisture. Replenish is a broad-spectrum 100% physical sunscreen and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
  • For dry, mature or post-procedure skin and Fitzpatrick types 2-6: The Elta MD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen is a 100% physical sunscreen and provides effective sun protection while being gentle enough for sensitive skin types. This product comes in two sizes with options for a tube (3 OZ.) or a jar (4 OZ.). This creamy and hydrating formula make it great for those with dry skin.
  • For extra sensitive or post-procedure skin and Fitzpatrick types 1-5: The Elta MD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 sunscreen is 100% physical, oil-free and contains antioxidants to neutralize free radicals. It’s a tinted formula that’s water resistant so it withstands humidity and sweat very well. This is also a great product for acne-prone skin and tends to be a fan favorite among those with oily skin. Iron Oxide (the tint) helps control and improve melasma and hyperpigmentation. It can be worn alone or under makeup and is perfect for those with extra sensitive skin due to the gentle formula.
  • For normal, combination or post-procedure skin and Fitzpatrick types 1-6: The Elta MD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 uses hyaluronic acid to boost moisture and help diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. This product offers a little more hydration and coverage than Clear SPF 46, so many patients like to use Clear in the summer and Daily in the winter, though both are also great all year round. This comes in a clear and tinted version. It glides on easily and absorbs quickly into the skin and is still very sheer and lightweight.

 

For your face and body:

  • For all skin types and Fitzpatrick types 1-5: The Elta MD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 sunscreen is oil-free and can be used as a full body or face sunscreen for children and adults. It rubs in quickly and glides on very easily. It’s gentle and lightweight, plus it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes. The limited amount of ingredients in this product, plus its ease of use, makes it perfect for kids 6 months and older.
  • For normal to oily skin and Fitzpatrick types 1-4: The Elta MD UV Shield Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 is oil-free and contains antioxidants to combat free radicals. For anyone suffering from body acne, this is the perfect pick for you.
  • For all skin types and Fitzpatrick types 1-3: The Elta MD UV Active Broad Spectrum 50 is perfect for someone who is active outside. It’s a 100% physical sunscreen that is oil-free and won’t burn the eyes. It’s also water-resistant, contains ingredients that combat skin aging, it provides moisture retention to extend skin hydration and reduces the appearance of redness. While UV Active is great for those who have active lifestyles and spend a lot of time outside, if you’re an athlete or playing a lot of sports, UV Sport is another great option.
  • For all skin types and Fitzpatrick types 1-3: The Elta MD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is oil-free and great for athletes and those who are constantly outdoors. It’s water resistant for 80 minutes and won’t rinse or drip off in water or drip into the eyes and sting when you sweat. You can apply this product (or any of the Elta products) to your skin when it’s wet or dry.

 

For your body:

  • For all skin types and Fitzpatrick types 1-5: The Elta MD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 is oil-free and utilizes a continuous spray nozzle to reach even the most difficult places.
  • For all skin types and Fitzpatrick types 2-6: The Elta MD UV Lotion Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ is perfect for keeping the whole family protected while keeping skin hydrated. This product feels more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen, which makes it perfect for everyday use. It’s extremely lightweight and comes in a handy pump bottle.

I can’t stress enough that sunscreen is the most important step of your skincare routine. It helps to prevent sunburn, wrinkles, fine lines and even skin cancer. Be sure to apply it daily and reapply every 90 minutes. If you have any additional questions regarding Elta MD skincare (or anything for that matter), don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!

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About Dr. Alan J. Parks

Dr. Alan Parks is a board certified dermatologist. Dr. Parks founded his practice, Eastside Dermatology, in 1986 and has been practicing there ever since. In 2016 Dr. Parks launched DermWarehouse, an eCommerce website selling professional strength skin care products to customers across the United States.

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